Welcome to the Climber’s Paradise – What Makes National Park Paklenica Such a Spectacular Place to Visit in Croatia
National Park Paklenica covers huge area starting from the very coast of Adriatic Sea all the way up to the highest peaks of Velebit. It literally takes you from zero elevation all the way up to 1.750 meters altitude.
And it’s not an easy ascent. One needs to be in good shape to make it. Fortunately, you don’t need superpowers to enjoy the beauty of Paklenica because it’s just as beautiful at its lower parts.
As a matter of fact, it is the lower part of the park that made Paklenica famous internationally – the Grand Canyon of Paklenica.
For 14,5 kilometers The Grand Canyon of Paklenica winds through the slopes of Velebit, making way for a stream of fresh mountain water till it pours right into the sea.
Walking path is built along the stream taking visitors deep into the mountain. It’s a joyous and educational walk. The canyon is mostly from 500 meters to 800 meters wide, at places narrowing to 10-50 meters with vertical rock-faces rising from both sides. This is where canyon really takes your breath away, this is climber’s paradise.
Each year Paklenica walls are attracting more and more climbers. At the peak of a season, it gets pretty crowded. These are the crags coming straight from a climber’s dream – clean white limestone walls where even the tiniest hold – no matter how fragile from the outside – never ever breaks. You can relax and enjoy the moves. And this is what climbers really like.
Paklenica climbing area offers all kinds of dry weather climbing – from single pitch sport climbing to multi-pitch big-wall climbing to highly technical aid climbing. Same diversity goes for grades scale ranging from beginner’s 3+ to professional’s 8b. All the routes are in 30 minutes walking range which makes area charmingly social.
But, the real climbing challenge of Paklenica is Anića Kuk – 350 meters of solid vertical walls, the biggest single rock-face in Croatia with over 300 multi-pitch routes, bolted or traditional. Like a stone giant silently sleeping, hidden in the mountain, rising from the forest, Anića Kuk is an impressive piece of a nature design recognized even by the casual visitors.
You don’t have to be a climber to enjoy its greatness. Easy hiking path along the canyon’s valley gives you a chance to see it from all the different angles. Take a close look up its cliffs and you will surely find climbers climbing up there somewhere, struggling with its hugeness, looking like a tiny dots ascending in pairs with a rope between them to catch their eventual fall.
Seeing climbers in their natural environment makes us think of all the incredible stuff humans are able to achieve when fully devoted. It reminds us that life itself is a miracle.
Visitors tour around the climber’s paradise starts at the park entrance. Educational hiking trail, beautifully arranged to follow the stream, serves as an introduction to the canyon.
As you progress up the stream you soon reach the narrowest part of the canyon – a sport climbing area supported with national park infrastructures like a museum of climbing, cafe-bar, and a souvenir shop.
The stone stairway takes you up the steepest part of the canyon, but once you reach their end, hike again transforms into the zero-stress walk through the extraordinaire.
National Park Paklenica is really a special place to visit for all who seek for an outdoor adventure. It’s position at the sea-coast allows combining all the outdoor sports and activities with water sports like scuba diving, sea-kayaking or windsurfing.
Spend an active holiday in Paklenica and there will not be much in your life left that you haven’t tried.
Your CTC Team, I.K.